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Strong Bangladesh-US ties allows frank debate on differences

Shahriar Alam says

Published : 30 May 2023 11:07 PM | Updated : 30 May 2023 11:07 PM

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam on Tuesday said the friendship between Bangladesh and the United States has deepened and broadened to the length that allows them to frankly debate on the differences.

This growing engagement between the two countries also allows them working closely together to mutually benefit from complementarities and alignments.

“In our developmental journey, we have sought and will continue to pivot partnership of regional and global friends, including the USA, with a goal of eradication of poverty and emancipation of our people,” he said.

The state minister hoped that Bangladesh’s such international engagements will not be seen from a narrow prism and rather be viewed as their pragmatic quest for development.

He was speaking at a special photo exhibition, “Roots of Friendship:  50 Years of U.S.- Bangladesh Relations” to reflect on over 50 years of people-to-people relations and diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and the United States.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas also spoke at the function held at the Edward M. Kennedy Center for Public Service and the Arts (EMK).  

“Our partnership with the USA in fighting COVID-19 pandemic is a true example of what we can do together. We appreciate the continued support by the US Government towards Rohingyas temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh,” Shahriar said.

However, he said, the long-pending repatriation of Rashed Chowdhury, a self-confessed, convicted killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman finding refuge in a friendly country like the USA remains a source of deep regret. 

The state minister said Bangladesh has achieved middle-income status with hope and aspirations to be a developed and smart country by 2041.

With three consecutive terms of Awami League government over the past 14 years under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he said, Bangladesh has brought over 40 million people out of poverty.

“You will be impressed to see the historic photograph of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s visit to the United States in 1974 as the Prime Minister of independent Bangladesh.  This was the first time that a Bangladeshi head of state met a U.S. President,” said Ambassador Haas.

He said the exhibition displays historic photos of all Bangladeshi heads of state representing diverse political parties when they visited the United States. 

These images underscore US commitment towards good governance, respect for varied political ideologies, and freedom of expression as the pillars of a functioning democracy, said the US envoy.

“I reiterate the US commitment towards supporting Bangladesh in achieving good governance and freedom of expression,” he said while inaugurating the exhibition of historical photographs representing over 50 years of friendship.